Toyota could have double-range, quick charging EV shortly
Japanese government spurring development of solid-state tech
It may seem that the latest battery technology, the one that will finally bring EVs down to combustion engine prices, is just “a few years away,” but a new report says that Toyota is less than a year away from introducing a solid-state production-ready battery. And that could change the entire industry.
The report from Nikkei Asia calls solid-state batteries “a potential cure-all for the drawbacks facing electric vehicles,” ranging from range worries to charging times, and while that may be ambitious, the new tech certainly does have the potential to narrow the gap between EV and ICE.
Toyota plans, the report says, to be the first to have a solid-state battery vehicle on sale, sometime in the first half of this decade. It’s set to introduce a prototype sometime in 2021.
While Toyota may seem to have been behind on the EV game, especially after pioneering the hybrid, it could be simply that they were doing what Toyota does best: waiting, perfecting, then releasing when the time is right.
According to the report, the solid-state vehicles will have double the range of a lithium-ion battery EV under the same conditions. They’re expected to have a lower risk of fire and far more energy density; the amount of energy delivered compared to battery weight. The report says that they’ll cut charging down to as little as 10 minutes, which is close enough to a gas model as to no longer matter for most drivers. The report says that Nissan is working on the same thing, but won’t have it before 2028, while VW is looking at 2025.
Materials suppliers in Japan are racing to work in the infrastructure for the solid-state battery electrolytes including a site run by Mitsui Mining and Smelting that’s expected to open next year.
Government officials in Japan have been pushing the solid-state development, with the outlook that otherwise most automotive performance-related tech will depend on China, says the report, and they may provide billions in subsidies to help find the batteries and infrastructure.
While solid-state batteries still require lithium, they won’t completely eliminate the need for the rare element.